Friday, March 17, 2017

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Sullivan chairman wants the county to improve health outcomes

LIBERTY – Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez wants the county to improve its healthcare rating and health of its residents.

In his State of the County address in Liberty Thursday evening, Alvarez said the county’s healthcare committee formed last year has already made a number of strides. The county ranks next to last in the state in terms of health outcomes.

“One of the things that we came out with was the age of 21 for smoking, the wellness committee of the county of employers, to get physical exercise, eat right and another one that we did was, anytime we have an activity, whatever we have, we make sure we have healthy food, that it’s not just garbage pizza- nothing like that. We try to get fruits, apples, things that are healthy to the people,” said Alvarez.

However, he added that since healthcare is so multi-faceted, the county will be looking to those who set the healthcare standards for guidance on where to improve next.

“The Johnson Foundation is coming down,” said Alvarez.  “Once we get the rating of the Johnson Foundation, then we have to look at if we’re moving forward, or moving backwards.  I hope we go forward. It takes about three years to before we know it; so, we’re looking at the ratings to see where we have to move.”

Aspects of healthcare, such as improving the breast feeding rates from 26 percent to 80 percent within the county, have been accomplished using that approach, he said.

Alvarez said the immediate goal is going to be getting Sullivan out of its current statewide healthcare ranking position by five, or 10 ranks, moving it to between the 55th and 50th positions.

 


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